October 30, 2017

And suddenly our house now feels like home...Hugo made it to Japan this weekend. 

He flew halfway around the world. We drove ten hours (round trip). And on a rainy night in Osaka, our little family unit felt whole again. The past two days have been a blur of sleepless nights and messy days. Doggie jet lag is very similar to toddler jet lag, but with a lot more night time barking and equal amounts of confusion and frustration. He is eagerly investigating all of the new smells and sounds and we can't stop smothering him with hugs and kisses. We will forever be grateful to the doctors, friends, and family members who helped to get him here. 


October 26, 2017

Here are the things I need to function properly: yoga, time alone, stories, daily tea, nature, authentic connection, gardening, laughter, creative pursuits, travel, and dark chocolate. 

Here are the things that drive me crazy: hearing others chew their food, a jam-packed schedule, mean people, last minute changes to a well established plan, putting away clean laundry, sickness, and cold feet. 

Here are the things that make me worry: polluted oceans, flying our dog across the world when a typhoon is approaching, phone calls in the middle of the night, snakes, North Korea, and scary movies.

Here are the things that make me laugh: Pink Panther movies, baby antics, Fawlty Towers, dancing in the kitchen with Adam and our kids, David Sedaris, Japanese game shows, and Hugo chasing a fly. 

Here is my Myers Briggs type: INFJ (and the most thorough, spot-on description I have ever read about myself). 

Halloween in Japan

October 22, 2017

Yesterday I walked by a kimono shop which had an elegant display with kimono-clad witches and a few minutes later I entered a grocery store proudly displaying Japanese Halloween candy (flan-flavored Kit-Kats, chocolate jack-o-lanterns, etc). The hundred yen stores have been crammed with costumes, decor, and kitschy Halloween trinkets for the past few months. The coffee shops have pumpkin spice lattes.

It feels surreal and it is by far one of the biggest changes I have seen since living in Japan for the first time twenty years ago. At that point, Halloween was a very exciting foreign concept for my high school students. Since there weren't any North American pumpkins, I brought in bags of oranges and they gleefully drew Jack-o-Lantern faces onto the tiny orbs. And when we lived in Okinawa fourteen years ago, there was the memorable year of the pumpkin lottery when the shipment of pumpkins that were being sent to the commissary arrived too rotten to sell. The remaining healthy pumpkins were raffled off: twenty five pumpkins for the fifty thousand Americans living on an Japanese island. That was the year I purchased three plastic jack-o-lanterns who have happily traveled the world with us. 

And now we are back in Japan and a bit overwhelmed to see Halloween celebrated in stores, bakeries, and even in a local sushi-go-round that is selling ghoulish bites. I have mixed feelings about it. It's fun to see the festive Japanese twist on this very American holiday, but it also makes me sad to see how much of it has seeped into daily life here. That hasn't stopped me from stocking up on gobs of candy because one thing that always happens when we live overseas is that our host-nation neighbors are invited to trick-or-treat on the base and that always results in a very busy night of celebrating. It's strange to be living this mixed-up expat life, but I guess that cauldrons filled with bizarre concoctions is all part of the Halloween experience, too. 


October 17, 2017

I didn't expect to get choked up, but I did. As soon as I saw the word "writer" next to my name my throat tightened, my eyes teared up, and I fought to keep the salty mix of feelings from overwhelming me. I took a risk, I submitted a few writing samples, and I was honored to be ask to join the brand new team of writers for Hello There, Friend (hooray for today's official launch day!). Writing has always been a core piece of my existence and yet, I have never felt brave enough to declare myself to be "a writer". It just felt too big, too risky, and too bold. 

And yet, here it is now in black and white:


Exhilarating, terrifying, and happening at just the right moment in time. 

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